Thursday, October 4, 2012

Development Opposition Puts Electeds on the Spot

As The Perez Notes is pointing out in El Diario, the growing community opposition to the Flushing Meadows destruction is putting a number of elected officials on the spot:

"Apparently, the community is saying not so fast, when it comes to the MLS soccer stadium and the USTA expansion in Flushing Meadows Park. Recently there was a meeting in Corona, according to a source, nearly 600 people showed up to express their concerns about the new development.

On Monday there was a "town hall" style meeting in Jackson Heights on the future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. I managed to go, and the room was packed. Councilman Danny Dromm and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras were both present, but the other local elected officials sent staff members.

An overwhelming majority of the people at the event are against the soccer stadium and tennis center expansion, citing concerns about urban development such as traffic, noise and litter

This community discontent falls directly in CM Ferreras' lap:

" Here are several interesting dynamics. This political hot potato falls largely on the lap of Councilwoman Ferreras, because it is mostly a city issue, and I learned that one of the concerns of the councilwoman is that there has been very little community input in the process. Some community members feel, that there have been several backroom deals made with developers and the community has been kept in the dark."

But what the council member needs to understand is that "community input" is not a panacea when a project simply sucks: " Another issue that an attendee mentioned to me in the forum is that the affordable housing portion of Willets Point project is being postponed, it seems that some of the benefits that the community expected from this project have not materialized."

Yuh think? No housing, no living wage, a massive traffic gridlock nightmare-but, hey, at least the Wilpons will haul in hundreds of millions of dollars in an exquisite example of crony capitalism-all at the expense of the good folks of Corona, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. This puts some elected toadies in a tough spot:

"I'm also told that State Senator Jose Peralta is in favor of the whole plan, because it creates good-paying union jobs. Also, I think that Senator Peralta, who has his eye on the Queens Borough Presidency understands that he has to walk a tightrope between the community and developers. I'm sure Senator Peralta is aware of the drama that the Kingsbridge Armory fiasco created for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Assemblyman Francisco Moya, a well-known soccer fan, has done everything in his power to make sure the stadium is built. I imagine that he probably isn't too happy with the opposition, the groups organizing these meetings are creating, which could cause a backlash against the project

Perlata on a tightrope-enough of a rope to hang him with if the community is organized properly and can hold him accountable-as it should with Moya and Ferreras. As far as Kingsbrideg is concerned the analogy is a hollow one. The Armory is a vacant shell of a building not a beautiful parkland resource-and to stand with developers looking to despoil the greenery is not comparable to what went on the Bronx.

A real donnybrook is brewing-and the coming storm might resemble a tornado that will have Ferreras, Peralta and Moya mumbling to themselves that, "Gee, we're not in Kansas anymore."